LatinWorks Scores Upset Victory

A small agency less than 2 years old has upset a cast of established players to win the estimated $17 million consolidated Hispanic advertising account of SBC Communications.

LatinWorks in Austin, Texas, won a national review which pitted it against finalists including Bromley Communications in San Antonio, Dieste & Partners of Dallas and del Rivero Messianu Advertising in Coral Gables, Fla.

The selection was made following a strategic and creative assignment for a new SBC bundled product called Simple Solutions With Direct TV Para Todos. The system includes everything from phone and Internet service to satellite Spanish-language entertainment programming via Direct TV.

“It is a complicated product and I was hesitant to give it as an assignment, but it was very real,” said Michael DeLeon, director of diversity advertising at SBC.

The win will double the size of LatinWorks, which currently has billings of $15-17 million. The agency has 20 employees, including an office in Los Angeles.

“We’re really pumped up—it was great news for our agency,” said Alejandro Ruelas, co-founder of LatinWorks. “Our focus was on providing [SBC] with our thinking. We believe we have a vision of the Hispanic market thatis a little bit different than whatthe others offer … We’re more focused on trends, where the market is going.”

Specifically, Ruelas said, the agency has a strong internal trends analysis capability through its alliance with Growth Strategies Group, in which it is part owner.

Media buying for the SBC account will be handled by Chicago’s Starlink, a unit of BCom3.

Ruelas and partner Manny Flores, both former marketing executives at Anheuser-Busch, formed LatinWorks late in 1998, taking on the Miller Genuine Draft brand for Miller Brewing Co. as their first account. The executive team is rounded out by Sergio Alcocer, a creative director who has worked at Leo Burnett and Young & Rubicam in Latin America and in New York, and Steve Moya, who oversees strategic planning and communication at LatinWorks.

“They bring a lot of marketing knowledge to the business and have a very fresh and new approach,” said DeLeon about LatinWorks’ founders. “The fact that they were clients [at Anheuser-Busch] completes their perspective on things.”